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The Wizard of Oz
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The Wizard of Oz (1939) More at IMDbPro »

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The Wizard of Oz -- Trailer for The Wizard of Oz
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Overview

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Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Noel Langley (screenplay) &
Florence Ryerson (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Wizard of Oz on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 August 1939 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
Mighty Miracle Show Of 1000 Delights ! See more »
Plot:
Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A fantasy rooted in the landscape of your childhood. See more (499 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Judy Garland ... Dorothy

Frank Morgan ... Professor Marvel / The Wizard of Oz / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The Guard

Ray Bolger ... 'Hunk' / The Scarecrow

Bert Lahr ... 'Zeke' / The Cowardly Lion

Jack Haley ... 'Hickory' / The Tin Man

Billie Burke ... Glinda

Margaret Hamilton ... Miss Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West

Charley Grapewin ... Uncle Henry
Pat Walshe ... Nikko
Clara Blandick ... Auntie Em

Terry ... Toto (as Toto)
The Singer Midgets ... The Munchkins (also as The Munchkins)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorothy Barrett ... Emerald City Manicurist (uncredited)
Amelia Batchelor ... Ozmite (uncredited)
Charles Becker ... Munchkin Mayor (uncredited)

Billy Bletcher ... Mayor / Lollipop Guild Member (voice) (uncredited)
Lorraine Bridges ... Ozmite / Lullaby League Member (voice) (uncredited)
Buster Brodie ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Tyler Brooke ... Ozmite (uncredited)
Candy Candido ... Angry Apple Tree (voice) (uncredited)
Mickey Carroll ... Munchkin Fiddler (uncredited)

Adriana Caselotti ... Juliet (voice) (uncredited)
Harry Cogg ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Pinto Colvig ... Munchkins (voice) (uncredited)
Nona Cooper ... Munchkin Villager (uncredited)
Tommy Cottonaro ... Bearded Munchkin (uncredited)
Jimmy the Crow ... Crow in Cornfield (uncredited)
Billy Curtis ... Munchkin Father (uncredited)
Paul Dale ... Lollipop Guild Member (uncredited)
Ken Darby ... Munchkinland Mayor (voice) (uncredited)
Sid Dawson ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Abe Dinovitch ... Apple Tree / Munchkin (voice) (uncredited)
Jon Dodson ... Lollipop Guild Member (voice) (uncredited)
Gracie Doll ... Munchkin Villager (uncredited)
Tiny Doll ... Munchkin Villager (uncredited)
Ruth Duccini ... Munchkin Villager (uncredited)
Daisy Earles ... Munchkin Villager (uncredited)
Harry Earles ... Lollipop Guild Member (uncredited)

Buddy Ebsen ... The Tin Man (singing voice) (uncredited)
Fern Formica ... Munchkin Villager / Sleepyhead (uncredited)
Sig Frohlich ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Jackie Gerlich ... Lollipop Guild Member (uncredited)
Phil Harron ... Winkie (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Ozmite / Winkie Guard (uncredited)
Charles Irwin ... Tin Polisher (uncredited)
Lois January ... Emerald City Manicurist (uncredited)
Eleanor Keaton ... Ozmite (uncredited)
The King's Men ... Munchkins (voice) (uncredited)

Karl 'Karchy' Kosiczky ... Munchkin Herald #1 / Sleepyhead (uncredited)
Nita Krebs ... Lullaby League Member (uncredited)
Ethelreda Leopold ... Emerald City Manicurist (uncredited)
Mitchell Lewis ... Captain of the Winkie Guard (uncredited)
Bud Linn ... Lollipop Guild Member (voice) (uncredited)
Jerry Maren ... Lollipop Guild Member (uncredited)
Dona Massin ... Emerald City Manicurist (uncredited)
George Ministeri ... Munchkin Coach Driver (uncredited)
Yvonne Moray ... Lullabye League Member (uncredited)
Lee Murray ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Olga Nardone ... Lullabye League Center Member (uncredited)
George Noisom ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Jack Paul ... Winged Monkey (uncredited)
Margaret Pellegrini ... Munchkin Villager / Sleepyhead (uncredited)

Meinhardt Raabe ... Munchkin Coroner (uncredited)
Hazel Resmondo ... Munchkin Villager (uncredited)
Freddie Retter ... Munchkin Fiddler (uncredited)
'Little Billy' Rhodes ... Munchkin Barrister (uncredited)
The Rhythmettes ... Themselves (uncredited)
Elvida Rizzo ... Ozmite (uncredited)
Rad Robinson ... Munchkin Coroner (voice) (uncredited)
Ambrose Schindler ... Winkie (uncredited)
Helen Seamon ... Woman with Cat (uncredited)
Rolfe Sedan ... Oz Balloon Ascensionist (uncredited)
Oliver Smith ... Ozmite (uncredited)
Robert St. Angelo ... Winkie (uncredited)
Parnell St. Aubin ... Munchkin Soldier (uncredited)
Ralph Sudam ... Ozmite (uncredited)
August Clarence Swenson ... Munchkin Soldier (uncredited)
Harry Wilson ... Winkie (uncredited)
Johnny Winters ... Munchkin Navy Commander (uncredited)

Directed by
Victor Fleming 
George Cukor (uncredited)
Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)
Norman Taurog (uncredited)
King Vidor (director: Kansas scenes) (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Noel Langley (screenplay) &
Florence Ryerson (screenplay) and
Edgar Allan Woolf (screenplay)

Noel Langley (adaptation)

L. Frank Baum (from the book by)

Irving Brecher  contributing writer (uncredited)
William H. Cannon  uncredited
Herbert Fields  contributing writer (uncredited)
Arthur Freed  uncredited
Jack Haley  additional dialogue (uncredited)
E.Y. Harburg  uncredited
Samuel Hoffenstein  contributing writer (uncredited)
Bert Lahr  additional dialogue (uncredited)
John Lee Mahin  contributing writer (uncredited)
Herman J. Mankiewicz  contributing writer (uncredited)
Jack Mintz  contributing writer (uncredited)
Ogden Nash  contributing writer (uncredited)
Robert Pirosh  contributing writer (uncredited)
George Seaton  contributing writer (uncredited)
Sid Silvers  contributing writer (uncredited)

Produced by
Mervyn LeRoy .... producer
Arthur Freed .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Cinematography by
Harold Rosson (photographed by: in Technicolor)
 
Film Editing by
Blanche Sewell 
 
Casting by
Leonard Murphy (uncredited)
 
Production Design by
Malcolm Brown (uncredited)
William A. Horning (uncredited)
Jack Martin Smith (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
George Gibson (uncredited)
Wade B. Rubottom (uncredited)
Elmer Sheeley (supervising art director) (uncredited)
 
Set Decoration by
Edwin B. Willis (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Adrian (costumes)
 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... creator: character makeups
Del Armstrong .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Don L. Cash .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Jack Dawn .... makeup artist: Frank Morgan (uncredited)
Lyle Dawn .... makeup artist: Billie Burke (uncredited)
Max Factor .... wig supervisor (uncredited)
Fred Frederick .... wig designer (uncredited)
Sydney Guilaroff .... braids: Dorothy (uncredited)
Cecil Holland .... makeup department head (uncredited)
Jack Kevan .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Lou LaCava .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
George Lane .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Beth Langston .... hair stylist (uncredited)
Emile LaVigne .... makeup artist: Jack Haley (uncredited)
Betty Masure .... body makeup artist (uncredited)
Norbert A. Myles .... makeup artist: Ray Bolger (uncredited)
Gustaf Norin .... prosthetic technician (uncredited)
Josef Norin .... prosthetic sculptor (uncredited)
Web Overlander .... makeup artist: Judy Garland (uncredited)
Fred B. Phillips .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Eddie Polo .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Mike Ragan .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Bob Roberts .... wig designer (uncredited)
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Charles H. Schram .... makeup artist: Bert Lahr (uncredited)
Howard Smit .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Lee Stanfield .... makeup artist: Jack Haley (uncredited)
William Tuttle .... assistant makeup artist (uncredited)
Edith Wilson .... body makeup artist (uncredited)
Jack H. Young .... makeup artist: Margaret Hamilton (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Ulric Busch .... unit production manager (uncredited)
Charles Chic .... unit manager (uncredited)
Joe Cook .... production manager (uncredited)
Louis B. Mayer .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
Keith Weeks .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Al Shenberg .... assistant director (uncredited)
Wallace Worsley Jr. .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
William A. Horning .... associate art director
Jack E. Ackerman .... props (uncredited)
E. Preston Ames .... draftsman (uncredited)
Leo F. Atkinson .... painter: clouds (uncredited)
Hugo Ballin .... sketch artist (uncredited)
John Bossert .... designer: castle (uncredited)
Malcolm Brown .... sketch artist (uncredited)
Edward C. Carfagno .... draftsman (uncredited)
John Coakley .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Conklin .... draftsman (uncredited)
Marvin Connell .... draftsman (uncredited)
Randall Duell .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Harry Edwards .... property master (uncredited)
A.D. Flowers .... set dresser: trees (uncredited)
Jack Gaylord .... propmaker foreman (uncredited)
George Gibson .... lead scenic artist (uncredited)
William Gibson .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Harvey T. Gillett .... draftsman (uncredited)
Henry Greutert .... head sculptor (uncredited)
Clem Hall .... scenic artist (uncredited)
William Hellen .... draftsman (uncredited)
F. Wayne Hill .... scenic artist (uncredited)
K. Johnson .... draftsman (uncredited)
Roy Perry .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Clark M. Provins .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Ted Rich .... draftsman (uncredited)
Arthur Grover Rider .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Gerald F. Rocket .... construction coordinator (uncredited)
Jim Roth .... draftsman (uncredited)
Billy H. Scott .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Jack Martin Smith .... principal sketch artist (uncredited)
Duncan Spencer .... scenic artist (uncredited)
J. Russell Spencer .... draftsman (uncredited)
Steffgen .... draftsman (uncredited)
Charles B. Steiner .... assistant property master (uncredited)
Marvin Summerfield .... draftsman (uncredited)
John J. Thompson .... draftsman (uncredited)
Leonid Vasian .... draftsman (uncredited)
Woody Woodward .... draftsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
James Burbridge .... sound technician (uncredited)
G.A. Burns .... production sound mixer (uncredited)
Earl Cates .... playback operator (uncredited)
O.O. Ceccarini .... sound designer (uncredited)
Bill Edmondson .... boom operator (uncredited)
James F. Gaither Jr. .... boom operator (uncredited)
James Graham .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
T.B. Hoffman .... sound editor (uncredited)
Van Allen James .... apprentice sound editor (uncredited)
Lowell Kinsall .... sound mixer (uncredited)
Standish J. Lambert .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Frank McKenzie .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Franklin Milton .... special sound effects (uncredited)
Ralph A. Pender .... dialogue editor (uncredited)
George G. Schneider .... sound mixer (uncredited)
Douglas Shearer .... sound designer (uncredited)
Robert Shirley .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Ralph Shugart .... sound effects editor (uncredited)
Newell Sparks .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
William Steinkamp .... supervising re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Michael Steinore .... supervising sound editor (uncredited)
P. Richard Stevens .... sound recordist (uncredited)
R.L. Stirling .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Don T. Whitmer .... sound mixer (uncredited)
John A. Williams .... sound mixer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
A. Arnold Gillespie .... special effects (as Arnold Gillespie)
Edwin Bloomfield .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Marcel Delgado .... miniatures (uncredited)
A.D. Flowers .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
Donald Jahraus .... miniatures (uncredited)
J. McMillan Johnson .... senior special effects technician (uncredited)
Mack Johnson .... special effects (uncredited)
Jack McMaster .... special effects (uncredited)
Hal Millar .... special effects (uncredited)
Bob Overbeck .... special effects crew (uncredited)
Glen Robinson .... special effects prop shop (uncredited)
Don Trumbull .... special effects rigger (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Chad Cortvriendt .... stereoscopic production manager (3D version 2013)
Chris Del Conte .... managing director: stereoscopic conversion (3D version 2013)
Jason Dourgarian .... stereoscopic compositor (3D version 2013)
Scott Farrar .... stereo conversion producer: Prime Focus (3D Version 2013)
Michael L. Fink .... stereo conversion supervisor (3D version 2013)
Justin Jones .... stereoscopic designer (3D version 2013)
Rik Panero .... technical support (1998 release, credited on theatrical prints only)
Michael Pecchia .... director of global development: Prime Focus (3D version 2013)
Brian Peluso .... stereoscopic compositor (3D version 2013)
Neil Stenhouse .... lead digital film restoration artist (2009 restoration)
Chris Bayz .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Kevin Braun .... digital compositor (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Christopher Rogers Costa .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Gregory Creaser .... camera operator: digital restoration (uncredited)
Chris Crowell .... digital compositor (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Sandy DellaMarie .... digital production coordinator (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Max Fabian .... director of photography: visual effects unit (uncredited)
Max Fabian .... special photographic effects (uncredited)
Chris Flynn .... digital compositor (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Mark Freund .... visual effects supervisor (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Jack Gaylord .... assistant visual effects supervisor (uncredited)
George Gervan .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Richard Gervan .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
A. Arnold Gillespie .... visual effects supervisor (uncredited)
Maureen Healy .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Heather Hoyland .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Matt Linder .... lead digital compositor (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Warren Newcombe .... director of matte painting staff (uncredited)
Michael Pecchia .... director of global development at prime focus (uncredited)
Candelario Rivas .... matte painter: castle (uncredited)
Rasha Shalaby .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
Jack Smith .... camera operator: visual effects unit (uncredited)
Lynn Tigar .... digital paint artist (1998 restoration) (uncredited)
 
Stunts
George Bruggeman .... stunts (uncredited)
Aline Goodwin .... stunt double: Margaret Hamilton, broom-riding stunt (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Allen M. Davey .... associate: Technicolor photography (as Allen Davey)
Virgil Apger .... still photographer (uncredited)
John Arnold .... camera department head (uncredited)
Pop Arnold .... key grip (uncredited)
Chris Bergswich .... assistant electrician (uncredited)
A.W. Brown .... chief unit electrician (uncredited)
Clarence Sinclair Bull .... still photographer (uncredited)
Eric Carpenter .... still photographer: Kodachrome stills (uncredited)
Bill Chapman .... still photographer (uncredited)
Sam Cohen .... camera operator (uncredited)
Nelson Cordes .... camera technician: Technicolor (uncredited)
Fred Detmers .... camera technician: Technicolor (uncredited)
Raymond Griffith .... electrician (uncredited)
George Hommel .... still photographer (uncredited)
Henry Imus .... camera technician: Technicolor (uncredited)
Paul 'Shug' Keeler .... electrician (uncredited)
Val O'Malley .... camera operator (uncredited)
W.E. Pohl .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Ray Ramsey .... camera operator (uncredited)
Cliff Shirpser .... assistant camera: Technicolor (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
W.L. Gordon .... casting assistant (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mrs. Cluett .... costumer (uncredited)
Agnes Imes .... costumer (uncredited)
Sam Kress .... wardrobe supervisor (uncredited)
Rose Meltzer .... costumer (uncredited)
Vera Mourdant .... costumer (uncredited)
Sheila O'Brien .... wardrobe: women (uncredited)
Marianne Parker .... seamstress (uncredited)
Jack Rohan .... dresser: men (uncredited)
John Scura .... costumer (uncredited)
Gile Steele .... wardrobe: men (uncredited)
Marie Wharton .... costumer (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Margaret Booth .... supervising editor (uncredited)
George Cave .... color timer (uncredited)
Ernest Grooney .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Tom Held .... second assistant editor (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Harold Arlen .... music by
George Bassman .... orchestral and vocal arrangements
Bobby Connolly .... musical numbers staged by
Murray Cutter .... orchestral and vocal arrangements
Ken Darby .... orchestral and vocal arrangements
E.Y. Harburg .... lyrics by (as E.Y. Harburg)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestral and vocal arrangements
George Stoll .... associate conductor
Herbert Stothart .... musical adaptation
Leo Arnaud .... orchestrator: Munchkinland musical sequence (uncredited)
Edward Baravalle .... assistant scoring mixer (uncredited)
Peter P. Decek .... music recording engineer (uncredited)
Roger Edens .... music pre-recording supervisor (uncredited)
Nat W. Finston .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Skitch Henderson .... musician: piano (uncredited)
Bud Linn .... singing voice: Lollipop Guild (uncredited)
M.J. McLaughlin .... music mixer (uncredited)
William Saracino .... music editor (uncredited)
Toscha Seidel .... soloist: violin (uncredited)
Herbert Stahlberg .... assistant music mixer (uncredited)
George Stoll .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Herbert Stothart .... composer: original incidental music (uncredited)
Herbert Stothart .... conductor (uncredited)
Robert W. Stringer .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Roger Wagner .... assistant chorus director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Henri Jaffa .... associate Technicolor color director
Natalie Kalmus .... Technicolor color director
Paul Adams .... stand-in: Mr. Morgan (uncredited)
Arthur Appell .... assistant: Mr. Connolly (uncredited)
Maud Gage Baum .... technical advisor (uncredited)
Eddie Becker .... rehearsal accompanist (uncredited)
Busby Berkeley .... choreographer: scarecrow's dance (uncredited) (deleted from final print)
Harlan Briggs .... double: Uncle Henry (uncredited)
Stafford Campbell .... stand-in: Scarecrow (uncredited)
William H. Cannon .... assistant: Mr. LeRoy (uncredited)
Betty Danko .... stand-in: Wicked Witch (uncredited)
Howard Dietz .... publicity chief (uncredited)
Roger Edens .... rehearsal piano (uncredited)
Frances Edwards .... caterer (uncredited)
Jim Fawcett .... stand-in: Mr. Lahr (uncredited)
Arthur Freed .... assistant to producer (uncredited)
Freddie Gilman .... animal trainer: horse (uncredited)
Aline Goodwin .... stand-in: Ms. Hamilton (uncredited)
Jane Harrison .... secretary: Mr. Fleming (uncredited)
Andy Hervey .... publicity chief (uncredited)
Jean Kilgore .... dance stand-in: Judy Garland (uncredited)
Bobbie Koshay .... double: Ms. Garland (uncredited)
Harry Link .... agent: Leo Feist Music Publishing (uncredited)
David Marks .... assistant script supervisor (uncredited)
Caren Marsh .... dance stand-in: Judy Garland (uncredited)
Dona Massin .... assistant: Mr. Connolly (uncredited)
Harry Master .... stand-in: Tin Woodman (uncredited)
Pat Moran .... stand-in: Mr. Lahr (uncredited)
John M. Nickolaus .... laboratory supervisor (uncredited)
Barron Polan .... assistant: Mr. LeRoy (uncredited)
Freddie Retter .... stand-in: Mr. Walshe (uncredited)
Bill Richards .... animal wrangler: birds (uncredited)
Si Seadler .... publicity chief (uncredited)
Leo Singer .... coordinator: Munchkins (uncredited)
Carl Spitz .... dog owner and trainer: Terry (uncredited)
Georgia Stark .... rehearsal assistant (uncredited)
Howard Strickling .... publicity chief (uncredited)
Norman Taurog .... director test scenes (uncredited)
Curly Twiford .... animal trainer: birds (uncredited)
Jack Weatherwax .... trainer: Terry (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck .... publicity chief (uncredited)
Wallace Worsley Jr. .... script clerk (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
102 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (Kansas sequences) (1949 re-release) | Black and White (Kansas sequences) (1955 re-release) | Black and White (Sepiatone) | Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System: The Voice of Action) | Dolby Digital (2005 re-issue)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Brazil:Livre | Canada:G (Manitoba/Nova Scotia/Quebec) | Canada:F (Ontario) | Canada:G (video rating) | Chile:TE | Finland:K-8 (1988) | Finland:S (1943) | France:U | Germany:o.Al. | Hong Kong:I | Iceland:L | Japan:G | Netherlands:AL (video rating) | New Zealand:G | Norway:A | Peru:PT | Philippines:G | Portugal:M/4 | Portugal:M/6 (DVD rating) | Singapore:G | South Korea:All | Spain:T | Sweden:Btl (cut) | UK:A (original rating) | UK:U (tv rating) | UK:U (video rating: additional material) (2010) | UK:U (online) (2008) | UK:U (re-release) (2006) | UK:U (video rating) (1986) (1995) (2001) | USA:Passed | USA:Approved (certificate #5364) (original release) | USA:G (re-rating) (1970)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
A scene was filmed in which the Tin Man was turned into a "human beehive" by the Wicked Witch; after he crushes a bee, the Tin Man cries and rusts his jaw shut, then has to be oiled by Dorothy to get his jaw working again. This scene was cut and so the scene of Dorothy and her companions that comes after where the "beehive" scene had to be flipped to match their continuity in the earlier scene, causing them to appear blurred slightly.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): During the song, "If I Were King of the Forest," the Lion asks, "What makes the Sphinx the seventh wonder?" The Great Pyramid, not the Sphinx, is one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Dorothy:She isn't coming yet, Toto. Did she hurt you? She tried to, didn't she? Come on. We'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
We're Off To See The WizardSee more »

FAQ

Did Pink Floyd intend "The Dark Side of the Moon" to be this movie's soundtrack?
What do the Witch's guards chant?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
167 out of 213 people found the following review useful.
A fantasy rooted in the landscape of your childhood., 30 May 2004
Author: The_Film_Cricket from Birmingham, Alabama

I have a theory that this movie has probably been seen by more people than any other movie. The fact that it comes to us as children is probably the reason why. Other films like 'Gone With the Wind', 'Citizen Kane', 'The Godfather', 'Star Wars', have been seen by a lot of people but in each case I can imagine people that might not have seen them. In the case of 'The Wizard of Oz' it's hard to imagine anyone who might not have seen it at some point in their lives. Almost everyone you talk to has a memory of their first experience. The reason this movie remains the most beloved of Hollywood films even after six decades is because 'The Wizard of Oz' is unique among motion pictures in that it mirrors our longings and imaginations as children.

The movie, in front of and behind the scenes, has become movie folklore. We love the legends about the rotating directors, from George Cukor to King Vidor to Victor Fleming. We know the legend of Buddy Ebsen who had to drop out due to an allergic reaction to the Tin Man makeup and Margaret Hamilton whose dress caught fire and nearly had her face burned off because of the copper-based make-up. We love stories about the problems on the set between personal feuds, sweltering costumes, partying munchkins and the costume designer who had to keep up with Judy Garland's developing bust line. There's even a spurious legend of a ghost on the set. All of these elements make 'The Wizard of Oz' a much bigger legend than it already it, but that's okay because this is the one movie that deserves to be over-hyped. It occupies such a large part of our memories that we want to make it more than it is, to just have one more reason to make it more than a movie, we want it to be a life experience.

That experience is brought to us because we are intimately familiar with its story elements. The dreams that Dorothy sings about and the adventure that follows seem to mirror our yearnings as children. She imagines a bigger place where her problems don't linger and she is free to explore them. She imagines a place where there isn't any trouble and people actually listen to what she has to say. She sees the rainbow as her golden gate to a better place because in her drab Kansas world, the rainbow is the only source of color that she knows. She dreams of a bigger place and imagines a world where troubles melt like lemondrops. We can relate. How many of us as kids sat in our room or in our yards and played, imagining a place to go and characters to interact with, a colorful world bigger than our small, confined worlds.

Oz is meant to represent the colorful palette of our imagination but for Dorothy it is also a place where she does some growing up. The three friends that she meets along the way, The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Lion are emblematic of the lessons of bravery, love and devotion and the ability to think for ourselves. The Wicked Witch of the West certainly represents the real dangers along the way. For Dorothy there is a matronly figure, Glinda the Good Witch who intends for Dorothy to discover for herself how to solve her problems, she knows that Dorothy must grow up along the way. In a way, she seems to represent the parent that Dorothy doesn't have back in Kansas. Her aunt and uncle love her but this was a movie made during the depression and we imagine the climate that they live in, where work means keeping the farm. No work = no farm = no home.

For 1939, Dorothy was the perfect character for young girls. She echoes many of the small town country girls who, in the midst of the depression, packed their suitcases and ran to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune in the movies. For them this film is a cautionary tale that they'd be better off if they just stayed home. Judy Garland was perfect in the role, 17 at the time, but with wide-eyes and a beautiful, open face she carries that sense of wonderment of a child. Like most of us as children, her only true companion is a dog named Toto and the most frightening moment in the film is when she is nearly robbed of her best friend. When she sings 'Over the Rainbow' we know that it's to escape an unhappy childhood (she has apparently lost her parents) and for Garland we identify. She began in show business as a kiddie act with her sisters and began her long movie career when she was only 13. She was already a familiar face from 'Love Finds Andy Hardy' and by the time of 'Oz' she was already under contract to MGM. That she was familiar to audiences helped her in the role. That familiarity works well with her ability to project the vulnerability and melancholy that the character has to have. We have to believe that she will become frightened and that her life will be in danger because if she doesn't that we sense that the character can work her way out of the situation herself and our interest wanes.

If movies are a time capsule than 'The Wizard of Oz' wonderfully captures a brief moment of happiness in Garland's life. We know of her problems with studio execs that put her through an exhausting schedule and used drugs to get her going in the morning then put her to sleep at night. We know the legends of her mental and physical problems that dogged her most of her life but 'The Wizard of Oz' sees her at a moment in her life when it all seemed perfect, just as her star was rising and before her problems really began. There's poignancy in that, and that's why I think that the casting of Shirley Temple in the role would have been a mistake. By 1939, Temple was the biggest star in the world her presence in the film would have been too much, she would have stood out and we would only seen Shirley Temple, not Dorothy Gale.

Garland's presence allows the story a certain credibility. I have tried to imagine that famous dance down the Yellow Brick Road with a 4 foot child and it just doesn't fit.

If Garland gives the film its center than I think the production design, awe-inspiring in 1939, is the perfect backdrop. In these early musicals filmed on a soundstage it isn't hard to spot where the soundstage ends. Some have seen that as a flaw but I think it adds to the dreamlike quality of the film. The matte paintings behind the sets add to the storybook quality. The fact that we're in a dream makes it okay that the special effects look a little hasty. That was the genius of the screenplay, that and to establish the Oz characters as characters that Dorothy meets in Kansas. In our dreams we often see people and events that have recently occurred in our lives, but this is the first time I've ever seen it expressed in a movie. In particular is the notion that Professor Marvel keeps showing up as various characters in the dream.

What generosity the filmmakers had. What ingenuity to create this entire world that is colorful and beautiful and scary. What depth of character they created. What messages they send. This is a movie constructed with loving care. We're told that those who worked on the film just thought of this as just another movie, but when I watch the film I find that hard to believe. Certainly from the screenwriters. I wonder if they saw how brilliantly they were tapping our frustrations and our excitement, our dreams, our need and our sense of wonderment. I wonder if they knew the impact of what they were working on, that the lovely sentiments that they created would still resonate 60 years later. I wonder if they knew that their heart's desires weren't that far from our own.

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